Van hire Doncaster: Tips for first time van drivers

Posted: 21/02/13

Driving a van for the first time is a very different experience to driving a car, so our advice is to not just jump in and go – take these tips in to consideration first!

Many of our customers who hire a van in Doncaster are first time hirers, which ultimately also means that they have no experience driving a van of any size. Whilst many people have the attitude of ‘how hard can it be?’- being overconfident can lead to unfortunate situations. On the flipside, others find the thought of driving a larger vehicle daunting, so it’s worth mentally preparing for the task ahead. Driving a van for the first time shouldn’t be seen as ‘scary’ or ‘complicated’, if you approach it sensibly it should be an enjoyable experience.

Here at Exchange Hire Services Ltd, we’ve helped many first time van hirers in Doncaster through their first drive so here’s our top tips for success.

Familiarise yourself with the van

Don’t just jump in a vehicle and expect to learn the controls as you go – this is not a sensible approach to driving a large vehicle for the first time. Take the time to learn the controls and get a feel for the van. Before setting off, ensure you know how to operate all the lights, indicators, windscreen wiper controls and hazard signals.

Remember – vans are big!

It goes without saying but we are going to say it anyway – vans are bigger than cars. With this in mind you will need to allow yourself a lot more room whilst driving and manoeuvring. When you are in a car you don’t need to consider height but in a van you most certainly do as you don’t want to scrape the roof – take care when entering car parks with height restrictions and multi-storey car parks and if you’re in a larger van beware of low bridges and overhanging obstacles.

Watch your speed

Make sure to carry less speed and leave more space for braking than you would in a car, especially if you are carrying a heavy load – always consider your breaking distance.

Consider your cornering

It’s easy to forget that most vans are actually wider than cars so with this in mind leave yourself more space as you enter a corner or make a turn around an obstacle. If you’re not sure if the corner is clear then take your time to assess the situation.

Don’t forget blind spots

A significant difference between a car and a van is the rearward visibility – in a van, it is greatly reduced which means more caution needs to be taken towards blind spots. Cars, cyclists and other small vehicles behind you are likely to be partially or entirely obscured and with only the help of a pair of extra large wing mirrors to guide you this may take a little time to get used to ensure your judgement is correct.

Plan your route

Planning your route beforehand can make all the difference. Decide the best time for your journey (avoiding rush hours and school runs could make for an easier journey), consider if you’ll need to stop for fuel and if you’ll need a satnav so you can concentrate on the driving rather than the navigation. Make sure that you know the vehicle height, length and width so that in the event you come across a narrow road or a bridge you are confident of proceeding or can choose a different route.

Check the weather

Beware – very high winds have the potential to be quite dangerous when driving a van – more so if the van you are driving is empty. Our advice for driving in windy weather is to keep your speeds low, remain vigilant and try to keep a safe distance from high-sided buses or trucks when possible.

Bring a friend!

Having a friend at the side of you can be really important when it’s your first time driving. Not only is this great for moral support they can be a handy parking aid to guide you into those tight spots!

Ultimately, we’re sure that your van hire experience will be an enjoyable one. Just take your time, be patient with yourself and other road users and enjoy it! Many first time van drivers experience a great sense of achievement when they get to their destination. Are you a first time van hirer or driver? You must be 23 years and over and held Driving Licence for a minimum of 24 months to hire a van from Exchange Hire Services Ltd. Whether you are moving house or simply need a vehicle to get around in we have a vast range of vehicles to suit your every need.

For van hire in Doncaster: use our online enquiry form or call us on 01302 340000 to book your vehicle today.